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Italy Earthquake Response

by IsraAID
Italy Earthquake Response

IsraAID arrived in Italy shortly after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck communities including Lazio in August 2016. IsraAID's immediate recovery efforts included search and rescue teams, distributing immediate relief items, and answering psychosocial needs to prevent long-term effects of trauma.

Since 2016, IsraAID continues to work in Lazio, where the community is still recovering, seeking to build back better. This includes implementing new infrastructure that can answer these needs should a future disaster occur, and taking preventive measures to bolster resiliency, specifically among vulnerable community members.

As part of this goal, IsraAID created a collaboration with Legacoop, one of Italy's largest cooperative federation, which represents some 400 thousand workers and 7 million members. Legacoop's wide reach into many different sectors of society is an ideal partner to create meaningful change, by tapping into their strong network.

Legacoop's local branch in Lazio and IsraAID came together and created CoopAID-- a collective focused on improving the mental health and psychosocial support systems to continue the processing efforts since 2016, and lay the groundwork toward disaster readiness and cultivating long-term resilience.

This project was featured in the plenary session of the recent Legacoop National Conference, hosted in Rome in April-- check out the attached photos!

This national recognition is crucial to the program's goals-- increasing awareness of the importance of mental health, thereby improving response mechanisms in ensuring psychosocial needs are attended to.

Thank you so much for your support of this project!

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On August 24, 2016, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy, killing 296 people and displacing some 4,000 individuals. IsraAID arrived shortly following the disaster, to support with search and rescue efforts, distribute emergency relief items, and provide psychosocial support.

Since 2016, IsraAID has remained on the ground working with our partner, Legacoop Lazio, to bolster disaster readiness measures and improve resiliency within the community, mostly centered around the city of Amatrice.

This work has focused primarily on mental health and psychosocial support, seeking to help community members process the trauma associated with the earthquake in order to move forward. Much of the project focuses on improving the capacity of the local leaders, especially social workers and therapists, to support vulnerable members of the population should another crisis strike.

As part of this program, IsraAID staff members have implemented innovative ways to access vulnerable communities and create a safe space for them to process their experience. In Amatrice, while much of the infrastructure has been repaired, other aspects including the clock in the center of the town remain in disrepair, serving as a reminder of the earthquake.

Amid this reality, providing interactive ways to engage children in processing activities is essential. Aiming to attack this challenge head on, the team created a "play-mobile"-- a repurposed bus-- full of hand-made toys specifically aiming at providing trauma processing opportunities for children. The play-mobile travels from school to school, offering a safe space for children to play out ther feelings, thus creating a developmentally appropriate outlet. This is one way in which the IsraAID team in Amatrice is working to create new and innovative ways of engaging the community with the mental health tools needed to recover.

Grazie for supporting this project!

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Two years ago, IsraAID deployed an emergency response team to central Italy after more than 296 people lost their lives and 4,000 were displaced due to a 6.2 magnitude earthquake.

Since then, IsraAID has worked with our local partner, Legacoop Lazio, towards long-term recovery by bolstering disaster readiness in local communities. The project aims to improve disaster readiness among the Social Legacoop Group in Lazio, a group made up of social workers and therapists, who have formed the CoopAID group together and are learning with IsraAID about long-term support and post-disaster rehabilitation. They will now launch their program to empower local social providers in Armatrice in strengthening their resilience by integrating the expressive arts.

The program will be implemented in the city of Amatrice, which was among the hardest hit cities in 2016. The goal is to create and implement a mechanism for emergency responders, ensuring the mental health and psychosocial support are included in the necessary services provided for communities facing disaster.

This past weekend, the group of professionals came together to complete the fifth and final planning component of the program, which will begin implementation in the beginning of 2019. The weekend seminar focused on two goals: assessing the group’s ability to respond to emergencies, and mapping out the implementation period for the Amatrice community rehabilitation project.

The group decided to begin with a small pilot to test implementation, which will then be expanded to reach additional groups, institutions, and individuals. This process will begin with presenting the project in Amatrice at an open meeting for local and national stakeholders, policymakers, and leaders to attend.

At the close of this weekend’s meeting, the group, which has been in a long-term process together, expressed their readiness to hit the ground running as a real team. As they said in the meeting, “We have already left the shore,” and they are ready to continue moving more deeply into the depths of community work.

Thank you for supporting this program!

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Two years ago, central Italy was struck by a 6.2 magnitude earthquake. The damage was extensive. 296 people lost their lives, and more than 4,000 were displaced in the regions of Lazio, Marche, Umbria and Abruzzo.

Amatrice was one of the worst hit towns. Sitting almost a kilometre above sea level and surrounded by beautiful scenery, the town – which was devastated by the earthquake – is home to over 2,600 people.

IsraAID’s emergency response team arrived less than 36 hours after the earthquake hit, bringing search and rescue professionals to locate survivors and psychosocial support specialists to help mitigate the long-term traumatic impact of the earthquake on Amatrice’s population. Since then, IsraAID has been committed to supporting the long-term  recovery of Amatrice and the surrounding area.

In partnership with Legacoop Lazio, IsraAID has launched a new program developing the mental health and psychosocial support capacity of the community in Amatrice. Through trainings for service providers and psychological support for community members, IsraAID & Legacoop are having a profound impact on the community's resiliency and mental health provision.

Quotes from participants:

ALBERTA - social worker

“I was called to be in Amatrice in November 2016, when the days were very chaotic - I went towards the unknown, for the first time in my life.”

Then luckily there was the IsraAID experience... only now I understand what I want to be for the affected people. I want to be a virtual "pillow",  where they can rest a sore head, where they can throw punches, where they can cry, get angry, breathe ... where they can find even a small light that helps them to start again.

I am very happy because the workshops of IsraAID will help me in my private life, and above all professionally, the small toolbox that I brought with me to Amatrice is now filled, every time we meet, it keeps filling with precious things."

MASSIMO - social worker from Calabria

"Before Amatrice, I asked myself the same question a thousand times: what is the use of psychological support when nature devastates your life and takes your soul away? ...

But now I understand. You have helped us understand how things shoud be done, how to manage our emotions and those of the people facing situations of natural calamity."

ANNA – social worker and head of the project Legacoop Sociali Lazio

"The earthquake is a life event now; we hear people saying before and after the earthquake. This training has helped enhance the resources of the cooperatives, facilitating new paths and the network between the staff. Helping people, is absolutely soomething in the DNA of the cooperative. We are doing it better with IsraAID."

Alberta - social worker
Alberta - social worker
Massimo - social worker from Calabria
Massimo - social worker from Calabria
Anna - social worker, Legacoop Sociali Lazio
Anna - social worker, Legacoop Sociali Lazio
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In August 2016, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy. Thousands of homes and buildings were damaged or destroyed, and major infrastructure was affected. 296 people lost their lives, and more than 4,000 were displaced in the regions of Lazio, Marche, Umbria and Abruzzo.

Amatrice in the province of Rieti was one of the worst hit towns. Sitting almost a kilometre above sea level and surrounded by beautiful scenery, the town – which was devastated by the earthquake – is home to over 2,600 people.

IsraAID’s emergency response team arrived less than 36 hours after the earthquake hit, bringing search and rescue professionals to locate survivors and psychosocial support specialists to help mitigate the long-term traumatic impact of the earthquake on Amatrice’s population. Since then, IsraAID has been committed to supporting the long-term psychological recovery of Amatrice and the surrounding area.

In the coming months, IsraAID, in partnership with the Legacoop cooperative federation, will implement a training program to provide long-term, sustainable support to 30 volunteers, focusing on psychological support techniques and mechanisms to promote recovery.

This partnership is designed to greatly accelerate and sustain the needed support while strengthening the community’s ability to respond to future disasters. The training has been designed based on local needs, offering professional knowledge and practical tools through unique experiential methods.

This will be IsraAID’s third training for Legacoop volunteers of the Lazio region. The participants will be introduced to psychosocial support, trauma, PTSD-symptoms, psychosocial first aid, coping mechanisms, resilience promotion, secondary trauma, self-care, and tools for positive intervention with vulnerable communities.

Thank you for your support! More updates to follow …

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Organization Information

IsraAID

Location: Tel Aviv, Merkaz - Israel
Website:
Project Leader:
Molly Bernstein
Tel Aviv, Merkaz Israel

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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